“With or Without You” - U2

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"With or Without You" is the lead single from U2's 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. It has since become highly-acclaimed as one of the band's most popular songs. Released as a single in March 1987, it became the group's first American #1 hit, spending three weeks at the top. It also reached #4 in the UK and #2 on the Dutch Top 40.

According to Bono, the song was heavily influenced by Scott Walker's album Climate of Hunter. It was U2's first single to be widely issued on CD. The song is U2's second most frequently covered song.

In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and was the second U2 song to enter any other Billboard chart (specifically, the Adult Contemporary chart) after "Pride (In the Name of Love)". In addition, the song spent eleven weeks in the top 75 of the UK Singles Chart. The song also re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 43 based on download sales alone on the week ending May 31, 2009.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at number 131 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"With or Without You" is written in the key of D major. There are large sections of the song where the harmony rests on the D chord; in the sections it does not, the band implies a D - A/C# - Bm7 - Gsus2 chord progression. This chord progression is implied by the roots notes played by bassist Adam Clayton and the guitar parts of The Edge. The Edge's sustained guitar part is achieved using a device dubbed "Infinite Guitar". The Edge explained, "It has a similar effect to the E-Bow, but the disadvantage of the E-Bow is that it's either on or off, whereas this gives you all the mid-points between no sustain and infinite sustain, and different levels of 'emergence' of the note."

"With or Without You" was first played live at the second show on the Joshua Tree Tour on 4 April 1987, and was a regular for the rest of that tour. It was played at most shows on 1989's Lovetown Tour. During these tours, two extensions to the song not present on the studio version were played: an extra verse with lyrics that typically read "we'll shine like stars in the summer night/we'll shine like stars in the winter light/one heart, one hope, one love" or modifications thereof, which appears on the Rattle and Hum movie; and a snippet of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which can be heard on the iTunes exclusive "Live from Paris" along with the lyrics "we'll shine like stars..." and is also part of the Bonus DVD released with the remastered box set version of The Joshua Tree. Since the PopMart Tour, it has been more common for Bono to repeat the "Ohh" at the climax of the song, with the "shine like stars" verse sung rarely.

"With or Without You" was played at most Zoo TV Tour concerts and every concert on the PopMart Tour. It was dropped from the setlist during the third leg of the Elevation Tour, it was last played on the 13th of October 2001 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. It was initially a rare inclusion during the Vertigo Tour - over the two months of the Vertigo Tour's first leg, it was only played four times. It became a regular concert inclusion during stadium concerts on the second leg in Europe and remained in the setlist for the third leg. It has been played on every night of the 360 tour thus far.

Unlike most songs in U2's live catalogue, this song has been played with several different guitars, with Edge seeming to pick a new model for each tour. Over the Joshua Tree Tour, Lovetown Tour and early legs of the Zoo TV Tour, he used a Fender Stratocaster equipped with an Infinite Guitar system. For later legs of the Zoo TV Tour, he switched to the Gibson Les Paul Custom, and used an E-bow to generate the song's sustained notes. He started on the PopMart Tour his now trend of using Fernandes guitars to perform the song. On the PopMart Tour, Elevation Tour and Vertigo Tour, he has used (respectively) the Decade, Native Pro and Retrorocket Elite models. Each one is equipped with a special sustainer, which is why they are used for this song. The Fernandes models have frequently been the only guitars Edge purchases new, as opposed to the rest of his guitar collection, which are all vintage models. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.